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Disability Rights are Human Rights

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This part of the exhibition is dedicated to the specific situation of disabled people in our society. The starting point is that equal rights for disabled people are anchored in various laws: Both the Austrian and German constitutions stipulate equal rights, whilst the Disability Act from 1983 grants disabled people in the USA the legally enforceable claim to equal rights. In the exhibition, Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is mentioned as an example: 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.' However, these legal regulations do not automatically mean that they have been implemented in practice. They are important developmental steps, though, towards perceiving disabled people as equal and having equal rights.

Photo: Room 'Disability rights are human rights'


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What is disability? Who is disabled? What represents barriers and for whom? What can society do to promote equal rights for the disabled? What are the ways of life of those with disabilities like?

A central element of the attunement is a video station called '5 Wege nach Hartheim' (5 Routes to Hartheim). Monitors portray the lives of five people with various disabilities as they attempt to travel to Hartheim using public transport. The variety and dissimilarities of the barriers – what represents a barrier to whom and in which situation – become very evident to viewers.

The film sequences offered by '5 Wege nach Hartheim' can also be borrowed from the library of the Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim in DVD format.

Photo: Video stations in the 'Attunement' area

Rooms in the Exhibition "Value of Life"

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The 'Wert des Lebens' Exhibition is located on the first upper floor and comprises 15 rooms. The first part of the exhibition deals with the historical developments from the Enlightenment to eugenics under National Socialism, the second part with the current society-relevant questions posed by modern medicine and the third with the lives and routines of people in our society with and without disabilities.

Common to all three areas is the attention paid to dealing with people who are perceived by the majority to be 'different' – whatever the reason may be.

The rooms for 'attunement' are located on the ground floor and offer an introduction into the topic of 'living with a disability'.

On the following pages, you will find short introductions to the rooms of the exhibition.


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The Enlightenment brought about a ground-breaking change in the definition of mankind in the universe. Preceded by the scientific revolutions of the 16th and 17th centuries, the religious view of the world was successively replaced by a rational mindset. No longer a divine plan, the purpose and workings of which remained outside of mankind's understanding, but rather the intrinsic laws of nature and society determined development according to this view. Science provided the instruments that man used to analyse his environment and himself, which then gave him the means to change and shape these.

The intention was to use the methods and findings provided by the natural sciences to discover the reasons for the apparent differences amongst people. The late 18th and early 19th century was a period of measuring and classifying. Scientists increasingly used observation, measurement and comparison to determine the criteria of normality and health. The main objective of these efforts was the tactical improvement of man, society and nature.

People were to be perfected by means of education and medicine. Those who did not meet the criteria of normality and health – the disabled, impoverished and mentally ill – were kept in specially created institutions. 


Contact Details

Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim

tel +43 7274 6536-546
fax +43 7274 6536-548
email office(at)schloss-hartheim.at 

Our office is open:
Mon–Thu: 8.30–16.30
Fri: 8.30–13.00

Opening Hours

Mon and Fri: 9.00 – 15.00
Tue – Thu: 9.00 – 16.00
Sunday and holiday: 10.00 – 17.00
Saturday closed


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